Tuesday 20 February 2018

Friends duped out of cash by Breifne O'Brien won't get a penny back

Jail: Breifne O’Brien Picture: Collins Courts
Jail: Breifne O’Brien Picture: Collins Courts
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Former friends and associates of convicted fraudster Breifne O'Brien will not get back any of the millions of euro he swindled from them.

A statement of affairs filed as part of O'Brien's application for bankruptcy reveals a trail of debts amounting to €50.4m.

Some €13.4m of this was characterised as "private loans", mainly cash O'Brien duped friends and associates into giving him for sometimes fictitious investments in property and businesses in Ireland and abroad.

All have been listed as unsecured creditors, meaning they will be at the back of the queue when an Insolvency Service official distributes O'Brien's estate.

However, as O'Brien has only listed assets of just over €1m, unsecured creditors will not receive a penny from his bankruptcy estate.

Those who face losing out include Rathgar businessman Evan Newell, who is owed €4.4m, while Tipperary brothers Louis and Robert Dowley are owed €3m.

Retired lawyer and former High Court taxing master David Bell, and his son Paul, who went to college with O'Brien, are owed €1m.

Wicklow-based businessman David O'Reilly, who met O'Brien in school, is also owed €1m.

Secured creditors listed include LSREF III Stone Investments Ltd, a company which bought loans from the IBRC. They are owed €18m in respect of mortgages O'Brien had with Irish Nationwide.

Danske Bank is owned €1.6m related to commercial mortgages. O'Brien owes €171,000 to Stapleford Finance and IBRC in relation to an investment in a Shanghai development syndicate.

IBRC is also owed €7m in relation to a mortgage over a car showroom in Munich.

In papers filed with the High Court, O'Brien gave his address as the Training Unit in Mountjoy Prison. He claimed to have made "reasonable efforts" to reach an informal arrangement with his creditors.

His bankruptcy application said he was in receipt of a weekly allowance of €18 plus 50 cent per day for working in the prison.

O'Brien was sentenced to seven years in jail in 2014 after pleading guilty to 14 sample counts of making a gain or causing a loss by deception or theft of around €8.5m between 2003 and 2008.

Irish Independent

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